- Last week, an unredacted House Intel Committee report revealed that former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe told Congressional investigators that the FBI had virtually no case against former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, and "The two people who interviewed [Flynn] didn't think he was lying[.]"
- "[N]ot [a] great beginning of a false statement case." McCabe told the Committee.
- The same House Intel report revealed that James Comey contradicted himself in a Fox News interview when he denied telling lawmakers those agents thought Flynn was telling the truth, when in fact he did.
- There is an unconfirmed rumor that McCabe instructed agents to alter their "302" forms from the Flynn interview, effectively changing their written accounts.
- Now, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) says Comey also told them the FBI thought Flynn was telling the truth - only to say the opposite on Fox.
- Grassley is now zeroing in on the Flynn interview - and has demanded the "302" forms, as well as a sit-down with Special Agent Joe Pientka - who Grassley revealed as the second FBI agent in the Flynn interview aside from Peter Strzok.
- Grassley is also demanding a transcript of the reportedly intercepted calls between Flynn and former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak central to the Flynn case.
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa is getting to the bottom of things, and some think he's laying out a path to exonerate former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn - who pleaded guilty of lying to the FBI over his contacts with former Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.
It has been suggested that the FBI set Flynn up, and his admission of guilt could have been to avoid sure financial ruin trying to fight the Special Counsel. Others say Flynn was protecting his son, Michael Flynn Jr., who served as his father's aide for his consulting company, Flynn Intel Group.
In a very direct Friday letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray, Grassley gets straight to the point - going after former FBI Director Comey's blatant contradiction between what he told two Congressional committees - which was that the FBI agents who interviewed Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn "saw nothing that led them to believe [he] was lying." - and what Comey told Fox News host Bret Baier - the complete opposite of his Congressional testimony.
Grassley's letter reads:
Director Comey specifically told us during that briefing that the FBI agents who interviewed Lt. General Michael Flynn, “saw nothing that led them to believe [he was] lying.” Our own Committee staff’s notes indicate that Mr. Comey said the “agents saw no change in his demeanor or tone that would say he was being untruthful.” Contrary to his public statements during his current book tour denying any memory of those comments, then-Director Comey led us to believe during that briefing that the agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe he intentionally lied about his conversation with the Ambassador and that the Justice Department was unlikely to prosecute him for false statements made in that interview.
Now compare to what Comey said on Fox while promoting his book, A Higher Loyalty:
Baier: Did you tell lawmakers that FBI agents didn't believe former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was lying intentionally to investigators?
Comey: No. And I saw that in the media. I don't know what - maybe someone misunderstood something I said. I didn't believe that, and didn't say that.
Grassley's Friday letter also notes that "The Department has withheld the Flynn-related documents since our initial bipartisan request last year," referring to the FBI's materials from the Flynn interview.
Then comes the bottom line:
"the Committee’s oversight interest in the underlying documents requested more than a year ago now outweighs any legitimate executive branch interest in withholding it. So too does the Committee’s interest in learning the FBI agents’ actual assessments of their interview of Lt. Gen. Flynn, particularly given the apparent contradiction between what then-Directory [sic] Comey told us in March 2017 and what he now claims."
In other words, the DOJ is out of excuses - and in light of the Comey contradictions - including the fact that he gave Congress the impression Flynn wasn't going to be prosecuted, it's clear that the DOJ has been hiding key facts that would significantly weaken the Flynn case.
Grassley then demands the following no later than May 25, 2018:
1. "The information requested in our February 15, 2017 letter, including the transcripts of the reportedly intercepted calls and any FBI reports summarizing them; and"
2. The FBI agents’ 302s memorializing their interview of Flynn and 1A supporting docs, including the agents’ notes.
Then it gets really interesting
Grassley demands a transcribed interview with Special Agent Joe Pientka - who he reveals to be the second FBI agent that interviewed Flynn. Prior to Friday, it was only known that (Trump-hating) Special Agent Peter Strzok was in the Flynn interview, while Pientka's name was kept nonpublic.
Pientka can now testify to whether or not McCabe had him alter his 302 form, which would send things nuclear. Given the DOJ's stonewalling to this point, it will be interesting to see how they respond to Grassley's new demands. Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein has likened Congressional efforts to pry information from the agency "extortion."
Clues to piece things together
Speaking to the suggestion that the 302 forms were altered is an analysis by Sundance of Conservative Tree House, who says "it's likely Chairman Grassley outed the name [Pientka's] for a reason." (h/t American Thinker)
Regarding the "widely held belief" that Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe told the FBI agents (Strzok and Pientka) to shape their FBI reports of the interview (FD-302's) to assist a "Flynn lied" narrative…. evidence of that is within the most recent text messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok:
♦January 23, 2017, the day before the Flynn interview, Lisa Page says: "I can feel my heart beating harder, I'm so stressed about all the ways THIS has the potential to go fully off the rails." Weird!
♦Strzok replies: "I know. I just talked with John, we're getting together as soon as I get in to finish that write up for Andy (MCCABE) this morning." Strzok agrees with Page about being stressed that "THIS" could go off the rails…(Strzok's meeting w Flynn the next day)
♦Why would Page & Strzok be stressed about "THIS" potentially going off the rails if everything was by the book?
BECAUSE IT WASN'T!
It was a conspiracy to entrap Gen Mike Flynn. All Strzok needed was an excuse to speak w Flynn. Everything in the 302 was likely fabricated.
♦February 14th, 2017, there is another note about the FBI reports filed from the interview.
Peter Strzok asks Lisa Page if FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is OK with his report: "Also, is Andy good with F-302?"
Lisa Page replies: "Launch on F 302".
And he reminds us that previously, on September 10, 2016, Strzok texted about withholding 302s that he called "VERY inflammatory"
"is Andy good with F-302?" Strzok asks page, weeks after they're stressing out about something going "off the rails." While not conclusive evidence that the 302's were altered, at least points to some sort of crisis management within the agency in relation to recent events.
Meanwhile, Twitter user @drawandstrike offers some thoughts:
Now try this on for size. Sessions/Horowitz/Huber knew who this other FBI agent at the Flynn interview was over a year ago. They got to him early.— Stealth Jeff (@drawandstrike) May 11, 2018
AND THEY KEPT HIS IDENTITY FROM LEAKING FOR OVER A YEAR.
Nobody was allowed to know who it was. No evidence was handed over.
Any text messages bearing his name, any official documents revealing his name were withheld.— Stealth Jeff (@drawandstrike) May 11, 2018
This was to protect a whistleblower.
And the fact that Grassley has now gotten the go ahead to publicly reveal this FBI agent's name is HUGE.— Stealth Jeff (@drawandstrike) May 11, 2018
The endgame is approaching. They can reveal who their whistleblower is because it's too late. The IG reports on the Clinton Email fiasco and the FISC Court scheme are dropping any day now.— Stealth Jeff (@drawandstrike) May 12, 2018
After that, when the public has digested them, the indictments are unsealed.
Grassley assumes the 'ongoing criminal investigation' he discusses at the top of page 2 of his letter was the FBI's investigation into Flynn himself.— Stealth Jeff (@drawandstrike) May 12, 2018
In fact, I suspect that's the investigation of who LEAKED that classified intelligence report on his calls with Kislyak. pic.twitter.com/rkxABvsiLl
For further analysis on the Strzok-Page texts that point to Flynn's interview, click into this tweet for another cogent analysis:
1) Last night, more Strzok-Page Texts were released. There are some suspicious texts sent prior to the @GenFlynn interview. Were they talking about Flynn? I think so— Falco (@Nick_Falco) April 27, 2018
Full Texts here:https://t.co/As3uDE0d8T
Finally, let's give credit where it's due if all of this turns out to be exactly what happened -as journalist Sara Carter has been on this since January: